‘Leftovers’ Promises No Miracles, Much Mysticism

The premiere season of The Leftovers (9 p.m. Sundays, HBO) focused on the fallout from the “Great Departure” of 140 million people who mysteriously vanished one day in 2011.

click to enlarge Justin Theroux portrays Kevin Garvey in 'The Leftovers.'
Justin Theroux portrays Kevin Garvey in 'The Leftovers.'

The premiere season of The Leftovers (9 p.m. Sundays, HBO) focused on the fallout from the “Great Departure” of 140 million people who mysteriously vanished one day in 2011. Such an event would force anyone to question their religious beliefs, sense of self and even mental health.

While last season was based on the titular novel by Tom Perrotta, Season 2 is completely original material with a totally different setting and some new characters — others are left behind. But the heavy themes maintain.The focus remains on Kevin Garvey and his girlfriend Nora, his daughter Jillian and an adopted baby as they relocate to Jarden, Texas — renamed Miracle National Park when it was discovered to be the largest known area without any departures. Surrounded by what appears to be the Coachella campground from hell and flooded with tourists, Jarden/Miracle is in a halted state. Despite being “spared” by the mysterious event that wiped away 2 percent of all humans, the residents are forced to reconsider and relive this every day — the community has to be gated to protect it from the countless visitors who want to step foot on supposedly sacred ground; superstitious residents recreate their experiences from Oct. 14, 2011 in case their very act was what saved them; others fight this notion with fists and fire.

When tragedy strikes the town hours after the Garveys’ move, all of the characters must consider heavy implications — Kevin, now seeing the apparition of dead Guilty Remnant leader Patti, worries about his mental state and its effects; Nora fears her presence may be a force in the disappearances of those around her; and the local Murphy family comes to terms with there being “no miracles in Miracle.”

With strong performances (Carrie Coon and Regina King are standouts), an excellent soundtrack (again) and themes of mental illness and religion, belief and otherworldliness, The Leftovers is proving to be one of the most compelling dramas on TV right now.


Nathan For You (10 p.m., Comedy Central) – Nathan advises a seedy bar to find ways around a smoking ban.


W/ Bob & David (Series Premiere, Netflix) – The Mr. Show duo — Bob Odenkirk and David Cross — returns for four episodes in this sketch-comedy reboot featuring Show favorites Paul F. Tompkins, Scott Aukerman, Jay Johnston, Brian Posehn and more.

The Knick (10 p.m., Cinemax) – Fresh off a successful experiment, Thackery is eager to test his addiction theories. Elsewhere, a subway accident brings a rush of patients to The Knick; Bertie brings Genevieve to meet the parents; Lucy gets advice from one of Ping Wu’s ladies (oy).


Saturday Night Live (11:29 p.m., NBC) – Elizabeth Banks hosts; Disclosure performs with Sam Smith and Lorde.


The Walking Dead (9 p.m., AMC) – In yet another episode that focuses on the same day from different characters’ perspectives, we catch up with Sasha, Abraham and Daryl. Talking Dead picks up after the Into the Badlands premiere.

Into the Badlands (Series Premiere, 10 p.m., AMC) – This six-part martial-arts-driven drama follows a deadly assassin and a teen as they navigate the post-apocalyptic, post-firearm world.


Fargo (10 p.m., FX) – Peggy and Ed stand by their decisions; Hank and Lou try to keep the peace; the Gerhardts make a play to bring back one of their clan.

CONTACT JAC KERN: [email protected] or @jackern

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